“If you are faithful, everything will work out alright.” This is a slight twist on the obedience and enough faith lies. The idea certainly has support in Scripture. It’s the human interpretation that gets us into trouble.
Let’s begin with a peek at the heart of God. Surprise! He loves you! He really does. He wants good things for you. He wants you to be happy and fulfilled and protected and strong. He wants you to know that He loves you.
So the Lord tells us this over and over in the Bible. He says things like:
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11
In other words, the Lord wants and plans good for us. That’s the truth.
But what is good? Many years ago, Pilate asked Jesus, “What is truth?” The answer, of course, is that truth is whatever God says it is. He is the only one wise enough to discern truth fully, to sort out and reject all error. But the same is true about good. Good is whatever God says it is.
Will all things work together for good in the life of the believer? Yes! Will all things work together for the outcome the believer wants? Maybe.
You see, we can never be the judges of what is good or what is best in our lives. We have to trust the only true Judge. He will do right and He will keep His promises. His motivation toward us is always love, but He is too wise to simply do whatever we want.
There are many interpretations of what happened in the Garden of Eden, but I have been impressed by the idea that Adam and Eve were trying to take for themselves the ability to discern between good and evil. They wanted to be wise like God. So they ate of the fruit, lost much of the good in their lives and began to experience the evil. But, ever since, humans have believed that they can discern what is best and what is bad. And they have proceeded to tell God what He should do if He wants to do good.
I have seen television preachers pound on the floor to demand that God give them what they want. I have heard people say that those who are “really” righteous will be able to ask and always receive the answer they want. I have listened to people who blame God for giving the wrong answer to their prayers. And all of these miss the point. God loves us enough to give us what is truly best, not just what we want.
People die, whether or not we pray for them to be healed. Their deaths are not the result of inferior faith on our part or unrighteousness on their part. Because of sin, we will all die. It is just the timing we would like to negotiate.
Not every disease or infirmity is healed. Not every job is won. Not every relationship is restored. Not every car can run on an empty tank until the gas station. Bad things do happen and they hurt.
But there is love for us in the heart of God. Love that is wise and good. Love that comforts and draws us close. Love we can trust.
Do all things work out for the faithful? Yes, but the faithful do not necessarily get everything they want.